The Caltech Infospheres Project explores theories, methods, and tools that support peer-to-peer process communication across the Global Information Infrastructure (GII). Led by K. Mani Chandy, the project is helping individuals and organizations set up personal networks of devices, software tools, and people to meet their specific needs. Examples of devices are medical monitoring instruments for home-care delivery to at-risk patients, research instruments shared by collaborating groups of scientists, and appliances in offices, homes, and vehicles. The project's goal is to develop the infrastructure that supports the creation of infospheres, or collections of tasks, tools, and interfaces managed by individual computer users, and new kinds of interactions between them. (See "The Caltech Infospheres Project," Spring 1996 Parallel Computing Research, page 10.)
The Infospheres group has recently released a new version of the Infospheres Infrastructure (II), a distributed system framework implemented in Java that provides a generic object model and a variety of messaging models, including asynchronous, synchrononous, and remote procedure calls. Release 1.0b1, available since November 1996, is free and has been downloaded by more than 800 people worldwide.
The II is now being extended to support interoperability with other distributed system models and to utilize emerging standards in the Java domain. Because the system is designed and implemented in a generic manner, the ideas, algorithms, and theories developed within the II framework are directly applicable to existing distributed systems and frameworks.
For more information about the Infospheres Project, including instructions on how to download release 1.0b1, see http://www.infospheres.caltech.edu/.
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